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Monthly Archives: July 2013

Its Approaching Reality Makes the Present Road So Much Easier

22 Cliff St, NY
Nov 2, 1898

From: William A Gray
To: Ruth Barrell

My dearest Ruthy:

Just a few lines to tell you that I am pretty well except my cold has developed to the
unpleasant stage, but I do not think it will amount to much. Have kept my promise to you so
far this week and what do you think. I didn’t wake up until ten minutes to eight this morning
and found the bright sunlight of this glorious morning beaming in upon me. I was very
much surprised at myself when I looked at my watch and you bet I got a hustle on.

Tomorrow will be Thursday, well along toward our holiday again, and I will be expecting a
line from you telling me you are the same happy well girl I left you at West Summit Monday
last. You do not know how much, Ruthy, I think upon our future during my present very
unsatisfactory way of living and how its approaching reality makes the present road so
much easier.

Was out on quite a business errand today and enjoyed the fine air immeasurably. I
wondered at the time if you would be out enjoying it too.  Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2013 in Family History

 

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You Cannot Imagine All the Sweet Dreams I Have

New Providence, N. J.
Nov 2, 1898

From: Ruth Barrell
To: William A Gray

My Dear Will:

I was much nearer you today, Dear, than you thought for. Bessie and I were in the
city. There were some things I had to have in order to go on with my work; and as Mother
and Ethel are going away Friday morning, we had to go right away or wait until they
returned, several weeks hence. We had a busy day and of course were tired when it was
all over, but things came along very nicely. I bought the white dress, Will, and all its
fixings, which are not many for it is to be delightfully simple. Just such a dress as I know
will please you. Of course I do not intend making it the first thing, not until we know the
date, but it will keep and is suitable for any season.

O, Will, it’s lots of fun buying these things and you cannot imagine all the sweet
dreams I have now-a-days with every thing to remind me of our dear future.
The cloth for my new suit came yesterday, just what I wanted. It will make a
beautiful dress, I think, that is to be kept for the grand occasion too. I got a lot of other
pretty things, “bargains.” But this talk is enough to disgust any man, so I’ll have some
consideration and stop.

O, one more thing the room, our room, has had one improvement so far this week,
the ceiling is now a soft warm pinky shade, that matches beautifully with that new paper.
Aren’t you sick of adjectives?  Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2013 in Family History

 

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One of the Greatest Men We’ve Had Since Lincoln

22 Cliff St, NY
Oct 21, 1898

From: William A Gray
To: Ruth Barrell

My Dearest Ruthy:

What a mean miserable night, this outdoors. Went to Brooklyn for supper and
returned here, it pelting rain all the time. Would have staid in Brooklyn could I have done
so contentedly, or had I had writing materials over there but I had none and I felt that I
must write you a few lines tonight. Have just finished a little job for the Vice President and
will not take up anything more tonight.

Your two dear loving letters of the 18th and 20th I gratefully received. I’m very sorry
you should have been so lonely Tuesday evening and that I couldn’t have been at your
side just then and caused those feelings to vanish. I was not so well Dear last Saturday but
I didn’t know I was the least unhappy. Of course not being as well as could be cannot but
have a subduing effect upon ones spirits and I suppose that was as it was with me. That
old rheumatism bothers and worries me for the fact that it reduces me to a cripple almost
and it hurts me mentally not to be able to jump around with ease. So Ruthy, in the sense
you seem to mean, was not in the least unhappy.

I think I know pretty well what was the matter on that night (Tuesday) with my dear
silly Ruthy. I have my own little spells of the same kind Dearest and can thoroughly
sympathize with you. Ruth Dear, do not worry about my working too hard or not getting
enough exercise, for I am not working so very hard and do some walking morning noon
and night and don’t think there is the slightest cause or probability of my caving in. At any
rate, not while I possess my normal amount of will power and that increases as time goes
on, rather than diminishes.

Your first letter I liked very much because it was so characteristic of my Ruthy and
then today came the other one by way of a sweet supplement.  Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2013 in Family History

 

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Park Avenue Armory

Iron Clan Manufacturing Co.
22 Cliff St, NY
Oct 18, 1898

From: William A Gray
To: Ruth Barrell

My Dearest Ruthy:

Two long days of this week are over and another holiday is several hours nearer
than when the train carried me away from you Monday morning. Am glad to tell you I am
feeling quite well tonight — rheumatism has departed for parts unknown (hope it stay there)
and barring a slight sleepiness am as good as new. The sleepy feeling comes from having
dissipated a little last night. Worked until about 9:00 o’clock, then went up town to the 7th
Regiment Armory to meet Chester, who roomed with me in Brooklyn over night. I reached
the Armory about ten minutes before drilling ceased and enjoyed very much what little I
saw of the tactics. Of course Chester insisted upon showing me all over the place, even to
the extent of taking a shot at the bull’s eye down in the rifle range. Last of all he took me
up to his company’s room where I was introduced to the Captain, who, by the way is a very
nice fellow, Mr. Underwood, a prominent lawyer in the city. He remembered me from
having seen me in the office of the Fall River Line. He put forth his best endeavors to
interest me in advantages of becoming a member — The one he didn’t mention is that its
members are exempt from active service in the U.S.A. — He said he weighed 116 pounds
when he entered and now 185. All this took time so it was about midnight when I got to
bed.  Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2013 in Family History

 

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My Head Feels Like Bursting with All Its Suppressed Feelings and Thoughts

New Providence, NJ
October 18, 1898

From: Ruth Barrell
To: William A Gray

My Dear Will:

Will, I’m so lonely tonight without you. I don’t know what to do with myself. Perhaps
it’s partly the weather, but no, I may as well tell the whole truth. It is because you did not
seem either so well or so happy as usual on Saturday and Sunday. I cannot help worrying
about you. I know you are working too hard and I know you do not get exercise enough,
and I am so afraid you’ll make yourself sick. I wish I could just fly down to N. Y. and see
how you were getting along each day. I don’t suppose I will be perfectly happy until you
get your work down to some kind of regular hours so we can be married and be happy
together. It wears on my nerves thinking of you and all that pile of work you make your
poor weary body accomplish.

I just wish we were married now, then perhaps you’d come home and take care of
yourself or give me a chance to try my hand at taking care of you. Now, Will, forgive me for
all that scolding and I’ll just be your Ruthy as you know her when she’s happiest, in your
arms and looking into those eyes, which are my secret home. That sentence sounds
wrong, but it’s right as I mean it. Your arms are the walls of that home and your eyes the
light of all the future years, which shows me in my dream thoughts all the happiness to
come to us and ours.

I do hope Dear, that your rheumatism is all gone — and you are feeling perfectly well
once more.

I expect Florence here by Thursday. I am so happy to think of her coming. I love her
so much. Will, I always have since we were school-girls together and I always will. This
last year I could not understand. I should never have written letters but gone to her, yet it
has all happened for a happier end, I believe. Both she and Bob are so happy I know —
and I know how to be happy with them.

Will, I cannot seem to think of another happy thing just now. The sad thoughts come
up so thick and fast I just want to have a good cry. I cannot get that broken up family out of
my mind. Poor Gussie and her little girl. Oh, if I could only do some real something for
them. Nothing has been heard from Abe and, as the work had to be done, Mother made
arrangement with Lew High for the next six months. And Frank Sayers wants the house.

He came to see about it today. He would be a good and permanent tenant — and Mother
could hardly afford to lose such a one, so she decided to let him have it on Nov 1. Bessie
went to see Gussie about it today. She was at her fathers. She is all broken up over
leaving her little home, and I don’t wonder. She doesn’t know where she can go or what
she can do with her furniture as she wants to keep it so if Abe comes back, as she hopes,
there will be a home waiting for him. We feel we must do all in our power for her. Bessie
and I will try and get her some place if possible, we thought of trying Morchonses first.

Gussie is a splendid worker, handy with every thing about a house. We would help her in a
minute if we could afford it and if there weren’t enough of us to do the work. If we succeed
in securing her a place, she could store her furniture someplace. My heart aches for her
and I have been trying to think of any scheme I can to help her. Can you think of anything?

O, why doesn’t Abe come back. What a weak miserable man he is to leave a helpless
woman and child and the cold winter coming on. I wonder do some of our noble
townspeople sleep easy at night, are they proud of their influence in tempting weaker
ones? My head feels like bursting with all its suppressed feelings and thoughts. I had best
go to bed and prepare for clearer thinking tomorrow.  Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2013 in Family History

 

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What Dreadful Trouble Drink Makes

Barrell Family Home.

Barrell Family Home.

New Providence, NJ
Oct 12, 1898

From: Ruth Barrell
To: William A Gray

My dear Will:

Just 406 years today since Columbus discovered this country. A great deal has
happened since then and a great deal has happened since you left me yesterday morning.
I have had much to trouble me since then and much to cheer as well so tonight I am
as ever with you, your happy Ruthy.

I will begin with the troubles. Will, you know that Abe hadn’t been here when you left
yesterday. We waited until after breakfast and as no one came, I rode my wheel up to
Abe’s to find out if any-one was sick or what the trouble was. Abe’s wife answered my
knock at the door and with a troubled face she told me Abe had not been home all night.

She had been up to the village the night before looking for him but didn’t find him. She was
going up again, so I left and went for “Mr. Stiffneck” to do the morning chores. He came
and managed to get through before noon. Ethel and I rode up for the mail. I stopped to see
Gussie and a sad story I heard. She and Ida had just returned and she told me that she
thought Abe had left her. She was crying and Ida was clinging to her and crying too. I tried
to comfort them a little by telling them I didn’t think he could have gone for good and all,
went on to the corner with Ethel, got the mail and let Ethel take it home while I stopped in
to see what I could do for those poor deserted people. Gussie was an old school-mate of
mine and Sunday school ____ too in Miss Maxwell’s class, so I knew her pretty well.  Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2013 in Family History

 

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Happy Ruthy

22 Cliff St
NY
Oct 7, 1898

From: William A Gray
To: Ruth Barrell

My Dearest Ruthy:

I have just reread your letter received this morning and it brought me so near. I wish
to whisper a few words of love to you and send some more kisses; the first will go with this
letter, the latter I’ll have to confirm tomorrow sometime.

Well, Dear, I liked that letter, because there was so much in it to make you happy,
even in the last words — “Your happy Ruthy.”

My whole soul and life goes out to you tonight dear, with the desire to make you the
happiest girl in all the world and thereby secure the best of happiness for myself. On
account of the sad anniversary this is and being away from home and you, I have felt
particularly alone today and O how I long for the day when you, Dearest, will share my
every day life and I shall have the hope inspiring pleasure of looking into those expressive
eyes and sharing story of love and devotion they tell at least twice a day.  Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2013 in Family History

 

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